tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 16, 2010 5:00pm-5:59pm EDT
dead fish with a couple of fingers. these are all solutions that work, which shows some degree of what an thing this is. >> can i tell you my iphone joke? >> what do the iphone and ipad have in common? neither makes phone calls. i'm dylan ratigan. "hardball" is up right now. all is well. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chuck todd in for chris matthews here in washington. leading off tonight, no oil in sight. for the first time in 88 day, gulf coast residents woke up to what's got to be an amazing see sight. a picture of no oil spewing into the gulf of mexico. the cap is holing, and everyone has their fingers crossed.
we'll go down to the gulf where they're cautiously optimistic they finally turned the corner. ooefb if the oil permanently stopped employees, one of the biggest victims of this spill politically has been president obama. the toll it's taken on his presidency and this question, how can he undo the damage? the more victories he achieves, stimulus, health care, education reform, wall street reform, the more his poll numbers seem to go down. besides republicans, some of his loudest critics are on the left. why aren't progressives giving him more credit? also, which democratic senator left for dead has suddenly surged ahead of the tea party foe. and all shook up. people in washington are used to political earthquakes, but they woke up to a real one this morning. it was a small one. those of us who are heavier sleepers missed it. but it's a good reminder there are a lot more fault lines in the country than you might think. we'll let you know where they are.
bottom like, earthquakes aren't for californians anymore. let's start with the latest on bp's efforts to seal off the oil leak for good. anne thompson is nbc's chief vimplt environmental affairs correspondent. maybe no longer a permanent resident of venice, louisiana. they will be giving you voting rights by november, and you may get a tax bill. >> you know they're going to make me pay taxes. >> absolutely. okay, ann. where are we? we know they're in a testing phase to see if sealing this off is a permanent solution, i say permanent, the solution until the relief well goes down. where do things stand? >> well, right now national incident commander retired admiral thad allen just gave a briefing. he essentially said what scientists and engineers are trying to figure out is what the pressure reading that they're getting inside the well means. the good news is the cap is holding. there's no oil going out into the gulf. the pressure heading is at 6,700
pounds per square inch, which is right in the middle of where they thought it would be after 24 hours. ideally they would like it to be closer to 700,000 pounds per square inch. why is it sticks at this 6,700 mark? there are two theorys. one is because so much oil has already been spilled into the gulf, that there's actually less oil in the well than they thought. and that's one reason behind the lower pressure reading the other theory is, and this is scary, that there's a leak below the floor. they have done seismic surgery. they have the remotely operated vehicles using cameras and sonars to see if there are any cracks in the sea floor. they're trying to detect where they ma be a leak. they've decided to go forward with the well integrity test for
another six hours and six hours from now reassess. they just don't know quite what they have yet. the good news is, at least no oil is going into the gulf. >> what they're testing is whether whether they can keep this sealed off for good, correct? because worst case scenario at this point, they now have a controlled way to keep some oil flowing up to coa containment system. overall, there's still a lot of success, right? >> there is. originally this cap was designed to help move the oil to the surface. it wasn't designed to shut in the well. they decided to try to shut in the well and do the well integrity test because they want to know what's going on, if the well is more than two miles down beneath the sea floor, what is going on don there. they don't know. there was concern after the top kill procedure that maybe that
damaged the well. it's still inconclusive. no matter what happens, if they can't shut in the well, they are going to go back to containing the oil. they say they can do that quickly. the helix producer, two of the vessels already at the sight. they've got "discover enterprise" there. it's got a cap that can go on top of the new ceiling cap. they have a lot of ways to go. when they get the system up and running, it can capture 20,000 barrels more than what the government thinks is flowing out at the high end. >> hey, anne, we made a technological leap here. we're having a debate about the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling. have they by succeeding in some form of this found a way to reassure the government at the end of the day that now we know how to deal with this if there
is another catastrophe as big as this one? yes or no? >> you know, i think that's a real leap. >> that's a leap? >> yeah, huge leap. this has only worked for 24 hours. we don't know how much longer it's going to work. beyond that, the biggest thing is, chuck, is they don't know how to clean up the oil once it spills. we have this area dealing with this for 88 days. and it is threatening to destroy a way of life, wetlands, marine life. the damage is extraordinary. even if the cap works to some degree, i can't imagine people will walk away from this and say, okay, problem solved. when the only way to clean up the oil is with a shovel and carefully scraping it off the sand, we're using tiny drum skimmers in marshes or flushing out marshes.
there's still no good way to clean up the oil once it spills. >> anne thompson, i know you have to do some reporting for another news program we're both familiar with. so we'll let you go. thanks for the update. >> yeah. turn it around before they yell at you. thanks very much. let's turn to buckley. executive director overseeing pensacola beach and anne set this up pretty well, buck. okay. so let's say they've turned off the spigot, essentially, and no more oil is coming. there's a lot of damage that has been done. we have ecological damage. what you're dealing with is tourism damage. correct? >> that's right. first of all, welcome to beautiful pensacola beach. you see behind me the white sands, the gulf of mexico is clear. we need more tourists. that's the message across the united states. look ot oat our beach. we're not covered in oil. three weeks ago we were.
we cleaned it up. bp said they're going to make everything right. they're going to pay the hotel people lost revenue. instead, why don't they say we'll pay half the hotel rooms so instead of somebody paying $200 a night, they pay $99.95. the people get to keep their jobs that work at the hotels. then they go out and have dinner. if not. they all go on unemployment. instead of saying -- go ahead. >> you would like to develop a partnership. okay, bp. this is how to pay us back. help discount visitors and discount hotels for visitors down here. you would like them to advertise. have you taken this plan to bp? somebody on your behalf? >> we're working as a group, working on this. a all right has been sent to bp.
it makes sense. they have to have somebody fairly intelligent working the accountable department that can say that makes sense. we can save money, give everybody a good deal, and they can get a room at half price. then we don't have people on the unemployment lines. instead they get to work. they enjoy working out here. we have a great workforce on pensacola beach. they enjoy the locals and tourists coming here. >> you talk about you haven't had any oil come on the beach in a couple of weeks. are there any concerns, have you gotten any warnings there that are any plumes headed -- there was a big one a couple weeks ago. what is the latest you've been told? >> the last time we got hit was three and a half weeks ago. and in two days it was semicovered by mother nature. we don't see the red spot on the map that show where is all the oil is. it's moved.
we do see the yellow cone of uncertainty. right now we don't have oil. we have a meeting this morning with the bp coast guard. they have a lot of vessels out there near the oil spill cleaning it up there where it comes out. the gulf coast is beautiful. >> yesterday was monday. the first lady of the united states, michelle obama did a tourism ad for panama city. would you like to see the government doing that? would you like to see the president doing those things? i asked him yesterday if he was going to vacation on the gulf coast. they haven't decided that. is that the type of things you would like to see the government do? >> no, no. god bless everybody associated with them. but when they come they close down traffic for three hours. let them have a wonderful time in maine. have everybody else come down here and not tie up traffic.
>> but, what you would like to see is some sort of advertising effort. either bp or the government or both making an ert effort, saying, hey, everybody is open for business. >> the state of florida got about $20 million. that's got to be used between pensacola beach and all the way down to clear water, tampa. alabama got $20 million, too. they were able to use some of that for the jimmy buffet concert. they have wonderful beaches also. we're all in this together and sou alabama and northwest florida trying to get the people to realize we're open for business. >> some of us are more biased in northwest florida. we'll tell people to go to northwest florida. maybe bp ought to underwrite you doing ads for them rather than talking about themselves. >> i do not want to be associated with them, but thank
you, anyway. >> you're not alone. coming up, the oil spill in the gulf has dominated the news this summer. how has it affected president obama's agenda? his team believes it has. how has it undermined the confidence of voters? a rich and airy treat. ♪ because after you've washed the bills... and paid all the dishes... it's finally me o'clock. enjoy it with mousse temptations. three decadent flavors. 60 calories. it's me o'clock. time for jell-o.
west virginia governor joe mansion has named the successor to the late senator robert byrd, at least temporarily. former mansion aide cart goodwin will fill the seat until a special election will be held in november. the 36-year-old goodwin served as his general counsel from 2005 to 2009. he'll be sworn in on tuesday. widely expected that he himself will run for the senate seat in november's special election. the democrats need the vote to extend unemployment benefits.
spill. he sounded as they say in washington, cautiously optimistic. let's take a listen. >> here's the good news that i think everybody needs to understand. even if it turns out that we can't maintain this cap and completely shut off the flow of oil, what the new cap allows us to do is to essentially attach many more containment mechanisms so we can take more oil up to the surface, put it on ships, it won't be spilling into the gulf. >> day 88. how much has this crisis hurt the president's agenda? david gregory, of course, moderator of meet the press. i want to start with something else the president said. he brought up an issue a lot of his aides have brought up. let's take a listen. >> i think it's important we don't get ahead of ourselves
here. one of the problems with having this camera down there is that when the oil stops gushing, everybody thinks we're done. and we're not. >> one of the problems. that camera has probably done more damage to president obama, whether he liked it or not, politically than anything else they've had over the last six months. >> ultimately if a president in washington overall are judged by whether solving the problem if you have to look at this thing every day. >> it was meant to embarrass bp. >> that's right. ed markey was the one who pushed for that. he thought it was important to hold bp accountable. it created all the issues to what extent the administration was able to really control bp. all this point about how this plays out. you still have a huge problem. the president spoke with great specific detail.
the president is not focused on that. then we concentrate on the environmental damage. then factor in how much money it's going to cost to rebuild the administration that still hasn't been rebuilt after katrina. so the problems don't get better, unfortunately. >> a lot of aides will tell you before april 20th, when the deepwater horizon exploded. march 11th or 12th they signed health care. they had the good jobs report coming in. the end of the month jobs report from february to march. they really thought they were turning a corner. it stopped everything dead, didn't it? >> id dit. it focused on the limits of what government can do. there were probably some deficiencies. overall this was a hard thing. you had republicans like haley barbour not criticizing the president, saying he had done a good job. there's political posturizing
going on on each side. e everything else is seen through the prism. so you deal with an intractable problem like this that points out the limit of what government can do, it points out frustrations on other areas. >> it just did another thing which is -- you hate to call it a distraction, but they were trying to make the turn on the economy. they've been trying to make the turn on some other things. they would talk about it, but we were covering the oil spill. >> the president wants a singular focus on jobs. you can't do that when he's surging up forces in afghanistan, dealing with health care reform, financial regulation. too many other things is going on. having a singular focus is not something he's been able to do. he can't swoop in and effect in a way that makes him look good. there's no looking good here. there just isn't. the problem is too big.
it's going to be a major problem when the press and public is not screenly focused on it. >> is there something about this that you learned from in a positive, and they're taking it forward. it seems like they learned something on the mcchrystal incident. have you sensed anything that they at least get it? >> in a lot of instances it becomes communications lessons. frankly that's kind of small in the scheme of things. this is a much bigger issue about where we get our energy from, the idea of offshore drilling. an other things. the ability to seize a moment like this. where is the political capitol? where is the political momentum? is it to be found anywhere? if you can't take a crisis like this and turn it into something important for the country, that's the difficulty the administration finds itself in. with the backdrop on the economy
doing something big in other areas. whether it's health care or financial regulation. it becomes difficult to get the votes. >> robert gibbs on "meet the press" on sunday seemed to start a fire storm. it was like he woke up a bunch of house democrats as if they didn't know they were in trouble. but it did seem to sort of clarify things. and it gave republicans momentum at a time that was very important to them financially. they're coming on this week. >> it's an important moment. we have weakness. we're taking water on board. he can say it's common knowledge. that may have been the case here in washington. the reality is, the house is up for grabs, as you've pointed out. it's up for grabs again. there's lots of reasons for that. this debate continues on sunday.
>> how is the president framing this debate many such a way that can maybe mitt game some of the damage? >> in an interview i had with him yesterday, he seemed to call it a referendum. on one hand he gets his policy is on the ballot. but do democrats actually want it at some point to be a referendum if it's simply to enthuse their base? >> i think they've got to. you back to 1994 and hurt democrats was the chaos theory. the democrats couldn't get anything done. well, the president has gotten some things, some big things done. if democrats want to swim away from the president, they can't get away fast enough. they are all hitched together here. they need to go out and campaign on some measure of accomplishment. on the economy and some other areas. the difficulty is, are people going to buy what they're selling given what people are experiencing, if they're out of work. whether they think the stimulus has had much impact. and some of the tension, as you know, democrats feel like the president is concerned about
2012 and he doesn't care about us. >> tough votes for him. >> and the irony is, and republicans know this, be careful what you wish for. should they get the house majority back now, it probably hurts them in 2012. they'll acknowledge they don't have a message to turn the economy around or a plan to turn the economy around right now. >> coryyn, menendes and pete sessions and van hollen. >> i'm fired up. sounds good. thank you, david gregory. up next, democratic senate candidate, one not getting a lot of help from the president or any members of the congress. alvin green is getting his wish. he got his own action figure, sort of.
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back to "hardball," and it's time for the side show. firsts can come true, at least if you're alvin greene. he said earlier this month one way the state's economy could be boosted would be selling alvin greene action figures. a minor league baseball team has taken the idea to heart. they pasted it over a head shot of the would-be senator. he tweeted a special thanks to the team because they plan to hand out these figurines at a game. since winning the primary, his haul is about $1,000. republican senator jim demint has $3.5 million on hands. you know never with minor league baseball. moving over to georgia. there's a seven-way race for the republican governor's
nomination. the current front-runner, state insurance exhibitioner john oxendine. apparently, at least his comedy writer. he's coming across as a birther. >> you know, there's a similarity between god and barack obama. neither one of them have a birth certificate. but god does not think he's barack obama. >> it's one thing to tell the joke, and we've heard some folks like joe biden and others make funny birth certificate jokes. when you're running for governor, not see if you want to stay tuned for that. now time for the hardball big number. mayor bloomberg's big campaign just filed a spending report from 2009. it turns out the new york billionaire spent $109 on the very narrow election year last
year. how much total over three mayoral elections has mike bloomberg spent? ready for this? $268 million. even in washington, even in congress, they would say that three-quarters of a billion dollars, or one quarter of a billion dollars is a lot of money. just imagine if he runs for president. >> from the stimulus to health care to wall street reform, president obama has a huge string of policy achievements. why does obama seem to go backwards with some of the major accomplishments? we're going to get into that next. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. people who say, "we're with you, no matter what." at wachovia and wells fargo, we're with you, when a house turns into a home... ...when a passion becomes a career... ♪
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stocks plunging today after disappointing earnings in economic reports. the dow jones industrial tumbling 261 points. the s&p 500 falling 31 points. and the nasdaq taking the worst of it, diving 70 points, decline of more than 3%. earnings from ge, bank of america and citigroup all coming in better than expected. but revenues were weak across the board. evidence of a still struggling economy. ge shares sink 4.5% today. citigroup shares down 6.25%. meanwhile, dell shares tumbling more than 4% as it nears a settlement with the sec over misleading accounting practices. and in economic news, now in the lowest level in 11 months. this even as every day prices fell one-tenth of a point. so inflation remains in check.
the possibility of deplace is a growing concern, however. that's it from cnbc first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." >> welcome back to hardball. with health care and stimulus in the books already, big moves on exreform, president obama has four big legislative wins, at least as far as they're count manager the first 18 months on the job. but is it helping him at all, or is it making things worse for him politically? jonathan alter is an nbc political analyst. katrina, i want to go to you first. i asked president obama this yesterday in the interview. if he feels frustrated by this issue that these legislative victories aren't translating to
political capital. take a listen. >> that must be frustrating. you've had an enormous about of political victories. it's not translated into political capital with the public. honestly, are you frustrated by that? >> i'm not frustrated because we were in such a deep hole, that even if we got three-quarters of the way up out of the hole, even if i know we're going in the right direction, people are still feeling -- >> you think it's all the economy? >> katrina, there's a couple of the theorys to this. that economy and nobody will think anybody is going well and any of these ideas are any good. another theory with some progressives on the left is that these achievements were b minus as far as progressives were concerned. that's why say the base isn't as excited about them. >> i think the grim economy for millions of americans colors the
picture, let's not forget the republicans are ready to build up the deficit to give tax cuts to the riches but won't extend unemployment benefits for millions of americans. i also think what we're seeing is we're seeing comprehensive but compromised legislation. significant major achievements compromised by entrenched corporate interests if washington. a lot of americans don't see the picture. i think for progressives, we understand that it takes more than one election. that we need to fix on systemic change to a system corroded by corporate money, compromised democrats, too, but it's a long haul. and i think the president is right to say let's not forget reagan was a few points below where president obama was now before his midterm. president clinton, around the same place. so it's way too early for this
funning about a big sweepout for the democrats. there isn't any incumbent mood in the country. but the republicans are so off the grid, clueless and cowardly when it comes to understanding where millions of americans are on financial reform, on health care, on the need for jobs. >> jonathan, you know, you've probably heard from the same folks i've heard about these issues, the victories haven't translated to anything. the president himself saying it's the economy. there is frustration in the white house that they don't have more support from the progressive base of the party for some of these victories. they feel like we've stuck our neck out. why aren't you rallying more to the defense? what else are you reporting on that front? >> well, i think that's true. there's a sense. >> any legislation is a comp migs. there's no such thing as a pure piece of legislation.
social security in 1965, liberals hated it at st time because it it hardly covered any seniors. so this is always going to be a problem with the base, but it's not all the base's fault. the administration has not done a good enough job of framing its message in memorable terms. even just yesterday, when you went out after he won on financial regulation, what's the takeaway? what's the sound bite if you will that comes out of that that people can sink their teeth into? he's only said one memorable thing politically this whole year, which is, you know, they drove -- they, the republicans, drove us into a ditch. don't give them back the keys. that's a good line. if he could keep saying that sort of thing and focus it as a choice. >> you have to dramatize the choice. jonathan and i were talking the other day. it's barton, boehner and blunt. these are people who go to wall street to sell the party to wall
street, who stand on the side of insurance companies who don't want legislation so women get equal pay, who don't want to regulate the financial companies. there are two other words i would adds. i think president obama could speak to millions of americans. elizabeth warren should hedge this consumer protection financial agency that is at the heart at the best of comprehensive but flawed financial regulation. and this is going to be a base fight. because if geithner, who is secretary of the treasury, overtakes, says elizabeth warren, no, there's going to be a fight inside this administration, and elizabeth warren stands on the side of families. >> but there's talk of people like william donaldson, who is former head of the sec. if it's someone not bear or warren, i agree there's going to be a fight on capitol hill from progressives. and there will also be a fight from conservatives, but that's a
fight the white house should welcome. >> exactly. >> i want to ask you both the bigger picture question about president obama. katrina, let me start with you. do you believe the president is a progressive, or more of a protag mist. >> i've always believed we should be as pragmatic, tough, cold eyed as president obama is about us progressives. i think he's a centerist progressive governing at a time when there's an opportunity to be a real progressive, to assert the role of government for the common good, and not as protector of corporate interest. but he's a pragmatist. and roosevelt, who so many progressiv progressives herald, as we should, was about this. i think that's who obama is at heart. >> jonathan, i want you to comment on something. here is more of president obama with me yesterday on this topic. >> you talk about a choice
election, are you prepared for the fact that now that means your policy is a referendum on you, and your policy, and that the voters may say, you know what, we're putting the republicans in charge? what message does that tell you? well, first of all we have a long ways before the election. >> you disagree with robert gibbs assessment? enough seats in place? number two, number two, this is going to be a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and my policies that are getting us out of this mess. if you look at the vast majority of americans, even those dissatisfied with the pace of progress, they'll say the policies got us into this mess, we can't go back to. >> now, jonathan, i play that because you just brought up something about his messaging. there was something in the politico piece. somebody made a point that it's interesting to compare president clinton and president obama. president clinton made centerist
decisions but talked like a populous. president obama, a little more populous in his legislative agenda, but does his best to speak like a centerist. maybe that's why he's struggled to fire up the center base. >> i don't think clinton did talk that much as a populous. he just sounded folksy because he's from arkansas. obama has talked about fat cats on wall street, and he really cuffed around the insurance companies. but i think it goes back to this question of his disdain for sound bites. he thinks it's somehow beneath him to use catch phrases and slogans that linger in the mind. there's a gap between what the american people believe and the action they might take in bringing the republicans back. there was a poll that came out, 60% are against repealing health care. when john boehner said yesterday, he wants to repeal
this regulatory reform, nobody agrees with him in the country, except a tiny, tiny group of republicans so the democrats have the country behind him on issues. they need to crystallize those. that's political blocking and tackling we'll not doing. >> katrina, we'll have to continue our conversation on twitter. we'll do that. you should follow katrina on twitter. she's pretty prolific. jonathan, you need to get better at it. you're just not as good at twitter. zbll i'll work on it. zblaung both for the conversation. up next, mitt romney is getting lots of money. sarah palin is getting lots of attention. with two years and four months until election day, and 15 months until the iowa caucuses, which republican presidential contenders are showing the most real strength? can i have some ice cream please ? no, it's just for new people. hey ! chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ? chocolate ! chocolate it is ! yeah but i'm new too.
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election. the big action will be on the republican side. chris is managing editor of postpolitics.com. jonathan martin is senior reporter for politico. we seemed to learn something. jonathan, you wrote a piece on ups and downs, pluses and minuses. let's start with mitt romney. he showed himself to be the front runner. >> as far as money, as far as organization, and as far as having done it before. keep in mind, the republican party has for years nominated the guy whose turn it is. and that is, i think romney heading into 2012. he's got unmatched context along the sort of national finance committee. >> and new context that came in sort of gravitating to him. >> he's signing up folks in washington and new york. he's been very aggressive about meeting with folks that supported john mccain last time, rudy last time. also he's done it before.
that means a lot in politics. he knows sort of the mistakes he made the last time. that said, he's got some real challenges. namely authenticity. and his policy, but also in his personal approach, can he overcome that sort of flip-flop narrative? also health care. he passed a health care bill in his home state. it looks a lot like president obama's health care bill. >> how does he get around that? >> all right. if here's the tourtois? sarah palin is the hare. >> i like that. >> is she really running -- did you get the sense she was more likely to be running now than a month ago? >> i feel like, and jonathan and i have talked about this. some days i think no. the other days i think yes.
>> didn't rudy giuliani try to be fron traditional? >> yeah, look what that got him. >> one thing to latch onto, the mama grizzly thing. mock it or not mock it. karen handle looks she's going to be very strong in the race next week. nikki haley, carly fiorina. she's building a group of people and a theme or message if she decides to run, clearly there's a lot of energy and money for her. can she harness it in a meaning full way. >> is she disciplined enough. does she is the team around her to discipline. we know that's not the case yet. >> i believe it was on monday. newt gingrich in iowa said i've never been more serious about running than i have been now. >> in an a.p. interview. it was very explicit. he did it on purpose. >> he knew what he was doing. >> not selling books anymore. >> exactly. this is not about books, not about speaking fees. i'm really in it this time. his date hasn't changed, if he
can march of next year he's going to decide this thing. that's what to look for. when it comes to newt, if he starts releasing county a county lists of supporters, who is for him, if he's doing that kind of thing, we'll know it's the real deal. >> the guy i think you nicknamed teapot at the end of the day. >> can i get credit for that? >> tim pawlenty. >> game changer. >> tim pawlenty, governor of minnesota, this is a guy that is plotting. is he just going about doinging what you're supposed to do in the manual that says. >> he's the anti-palin. i mentioned palin doesn't follow traditional rules. pawlenty is following every traditional rule, he's the mitt romney circa 2008. in 2007, 2006, mitt romney went everywhere. every lincoln day different, every iowa day dinner. that's tim pawlenty. the question, is there some bear there. nice guy.
great story. first person in his family to go to college. middle class roots. the walmart, sam's club republican. good story but does he get people excite. >> wildcards in here it, haley bauer bore, do you sense he's trying to at least leave himself the option of running? >> absolutely. definitely thinking about it. if he ever would do it, this is now the opportunity. he is anti-obama in every possible way. huge contact as far as grass roots and finance. his downside just as big. looks and sounds like a deep south >> he hurts both romney and newt. >> he's the guy that all the consultants, everybody knows haley. >> there's a huge space to be a mainstream.conservative romney conservativetive. who fills that space. >> mitch daniels the other wildcarder. >> another anti-obama. doesn't look, sound like obama. short guy, bureaucrat. could do it? sure. but i don't know if he wants to
retail campaign for two years. that's not been what he enjoys doing. >> the field is going to start gelling faster than we will realize. chris, i'll see you both at the 801 for pork chop. when we return, a rare thing happened this morning here in washington, d.c. no, it wasn't republicans and democrats doing all of a sudden getting together and putting differences aside. there was an earthquake in the nation's capital. al actual one, geological earthquake. we'll have more on the d.c. quake next and find out if your city is next. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. ben and his family live on this block. ben's a re/max agent, and he's a big part of this community. re/max agents know their markets, and they care enough to get to know you, too. nobody sells more real estate than re/max. visit remax.com today.
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well, the washington, d.c. area was hit by an earthquake, believe it or not this morning and not the political kind we're used to. i know that cliche is getting old for folks. it was a fairly mild one. earthquakes are pretty unusual in this part of the country so where are the fault lines and is there one near you. dr. thomas heat is with the earthquake engineering research lab at the california institute of technology. he joins us now. all right. dr. heaton, i know most of your work is usually on the west coast. we know everybody from seattle to san diego is always mindful of the fear of earthquakes. a new phenomenon here east of the mississippi. how risky is this on the, quote, eastern half of the country? >> well, roughly 10% the rate of
earthquakes in the eastern u.s. as opposed to the western u.s. so you don't get a lot of the earthquakes in the eastern u.s. especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. if you go back awhile, you'll find there were some really important earthquakes in the eastern united states in the 19th century especially. even new york got into the act with a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in the 1800s. but there have been some very large earthquakes in the eastern u.s. but nothing in any living person's memory. >> is there anything to -- there's still nothing about an earthquake that can tell you, let you to predict oh, boy, a bigger one is coming. we yet don't have a pattern here, when you see a tremor, this means something? >> well, of course, there's always a bigger one coming but in terms of being able to tell when it's going to happen, we have no idea. and we do try to look for
patterns, but i think the more we look, the more we realize it's very hard to see any repeatable pattern. >> so outside of we note corridor on the west coast big from seattle, san francisco, los angeles. another big area i've always heard of that people don't talk about much is st. louis. quickly, tell us about that fault. >> well, i don't think we know much about the fault except for the fact that there were three very large earthquakes two in 1811 and a third one in 1812. and then there was another magnitude 6 1/2 earthquake in the 1890s. those earthquakes still have aftershocks today. so we can use the aftershocks from those earthquakes even almost 2 hundred years ago to map where the faults were. the big debated is whether we'll have another large one on those faults, and to be honest, i don't think any of us know. >> dr. thomas heaton, a